Megaloceros

Quynh Pham 4A

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COMMON & SCIENTIFIC NAME

Common name: Irish Elk or Giant Elk

Scientific name: Great Horn

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GEOLOGIC TIME SCALE

Mid Ionian of the Pleistocene through to early Holocene.
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DISTRIBUTION

Eurasia, as well as North America.
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GROUP

Kingdom: Animalia

Phylum: Chordata

Class: Mammalia

Order: Artiodactyla

Family: Cervidae

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CHARACTERISTICS

Looks: Most species averaging slightly below 2 meters at the withers. Many of the Mediterranean species, on the other hand, were textbook examples of insular dwarfism, such as the Sardinian, which was barely 1 meter tall.


Eat: Herbivores


Live: Most members of the genus were extremely large animals that favored meadows or open woodlands, with most species averaging slightly below 2 meters at the withers.

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INTERESTING FACTS



Length: 3 metres (10 feet) long and 2 metres (6 feet) at the withers


As the name "Irish Elk" implies, the larger species were somewhat similar in general habit to the Europe Elk (Moose) and the American Elk. However, this has by now been shown to be a consequence of their increased size. The actual relationships are with the fallow deer genus Dama, and the genus was part of a Late Neogene Eurasian radiation of fallow deer relatives of which today only 2 taxa remain.


Species:

  • M. obscurus
Earliest known species from the Early Pleistocene of Europe. Had long, crooked antlers.
  • M. luochuanensis
Early to Mid-Pleistocene species found in China.
  • M. verticornis
Early to Mid-Pleistocene species, closely related to M. obscurus. Found throughout Southern Europe. Is suspected of being the ancestor of the Mediterranean species, and possibly Candiacervus.
  • M. antecedens
Very similar to M. giganteus, to the point where it is often regarded as a subspeices of the latter. The antlers differ, in that they are more compact, and the tines near the base are large and palmate. Found in Mid-Pleistocene Germany.
  • M. pachyosteus
Mid-Pleistocene China and Japan Has long, curved antlers.
  • M. savini
Mid-Pleistocene species, slightly larger, first found near France. Its antlers were straight, with thorn-like prongs. The lowermost prongs near the base were palmate.
  • M. cazioti
Dwarf species from the Late Pleistocene. About 1 metre at the shoulders, and is believed to be descended from M. verticornis. It survived until 5080 BCE.
  • M. dawkinsi
A Late Pleistocene species native to Great Britianvery similar to M. savini. The first human inhabitants of Britain may have encountered it, as some antler fragments have been found that have been carved into crude tools.
  • M. gigantous
Largest, best known, and among the last species of the genus, about 2 metres at the shoulders. Found throughout Eurasia.